Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Fiat 500C

It's very easy to ruin a hatchback by trying to turn it into a convertible. The Punto springs immediately to mind - everything about it is a little bit wrong. The new Mini also jarred a little on the eyes when it became d├ęcapotable - it just seems a shame to kill the handling dynamics of a small hatch (which, let's face it, is one of the strongest cards they have to play) for the sake of a fabric roof.

Good news, then, that Fiat have put some thought into the 500C. Rather than going for a full cabrio, they're echoing the lines of the original '57 500 by allowing the roof to slip back on rails while the structure and shape of the car is retained by not omitting the B- and C-pillars.

The canvas roof incorporates a cunning third brake light that sits at a high level when the roof's up, yet remains visible at the top of the bootlid when it's down. Fiat have also stated that the 500C will have clever new stop-start technology (switching the engine off when stationary, then popping back into life when a gear is selected), and the alloys they've added to this demo model are extremely pretty. The 500 cuts a handsome profile - it's encouraging to see that they haven't killed the looks by losing the roof. You might even, in fact, call it an improvement...

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